What’s more fun than a road trip with Mee-Mee and Poppie?

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

It’s taking me longer to write about our summer vacation than the actual vacation took.

When I left off about a month ago, the family was all heading back to Wisconsin from New York state – where we went for a niece’s high school graduation – but in a number of different directions, none of them direct.

Alex and Julia headed down to South Carolina with a couple of their cousins before heading back home, while Terry and I got Aiden and headed home via Ohio, where we stopped to visit Terry’s cousin just outside of Columbus.

Apparently, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow it.

So we were on the road headed west with a Stinky Pickle and decided we could play the role of indulgent grandparents without concern.

For instance, late in the morning we saw a sign for a Sonic drive-in and decided Aiden should try one of those out for the first time – and try one of their slushy drinks, with Nerds candy no less.

Isn’t that what grandparents are supposed to do?

We did stop for a proper meal early in the afternoon and introduced Aiden to another tradition, from Mee-Mee’s side – we ate at a Bob Evans restaurant.

It was a late lunch, but Mee- Mee and Poppie let Stinky Pickle have pancakes, which they serve all day at Bob Evans, and he loved it – he was certainly enjoying traveling with his grandparents.

All of this made us a little late getting into Ohio, so it was getting dark as we drove to Terry’s cousins through the countryside.

We were driving through farm fields filled with the twinkling of fireflies, which was another first for Aiden – living in a city, he’d never seen them before.

We got to Steve and Judy’s and finally called it a night, a day and a good trip thus far.

The next day we had a natural difference of opinion over what everybody wanted to do, so we wound up splitting up.

Terry and Judy went shopping, while Steve took Aiden and I to a military museum outside of Columbus.

It was someplace Steve had always wanted to go, but for some reason – I can’t imagine why – had never been able to talk Judy into going to.

He didn’t have to ask me twice, and Aiden was up for it as well.

The inside displays were more interesting for Steve and I, although Aiden did like looking at some of the items and artifacts and was also intrigued by the diorama display of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.

But what really got his interest was the vintage military vehicles on display outside – helicopters, tanks and a few other things.

He was a little disappointed he couldn’t climb inside them and play, but he still had fun running around them and looking for bullet holes in the helicopters – which they still had.

We headed back to Steve and Judy’s house, which happens to be right across the road from the local firehouse.

And it just so happened that several of the firefighters were there that day, getting the trucks ready for the Fourth of July parade the next day.

So we wandered across the street and Aiden got shown around the firehouse – and this time, he got a chance to sit in a couple of the vehicles.

Are we fun grandparents or what, showing him tanks, helicopters and fire trucks all in the same day?

But we weren’t through yet.

That night, after dinner when it was dark, we headed out into Steve and Judy’s backyard, which happened to be full of fireflies.

We grabbed a jar and proceeded to show Stinky Pickle how to catch fireflies and save them in the jar.

There we were, four adults – all well past the half-century mark – running around the yard reliving our childhoods catching fireflies.

I don’t mean to brag but, not only was I the first one to successfully catch one, I wound up catching more than anyone else.

Just goes to show a native New Yorker can more than hold his own with three Ohio natives when it comes to some good old country pastimes.

After we’d all tired of the great firefly hunt, Terry brought out some sparklers she’d bought and we had a little Fourth of July eve fireworks.

And no, we didn’t try to catch any of those twinkling lights – we all knew better than that.

We got to spend the Fourth of July on the highway, driving back to Wisconsin and real life, but it was a fun vacation while it lasted – even if that was a lot shorter than the amount of time I’ve been writing about it.


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